Thursday, June 17, 2010
What to see in Niterói
I think I know now how the residents of Oakland, CA feel living right across the bay from San Francisco (where I lived for 24 years). The standing joke among Cariocas (those born in Rio) is that the best thing about Niterói is the view of Rio de Janeiro.
Very funny. Get out much? (For me, now the shoe is on the other foot. Did I mention that Niterói is consistently voted the top city in Rio state for quality of life?)
Cariocas do have a point. The view is amazing. When taking an early morning or late afternoon heart-healthy walk along the beach, the view is truly world-class.
But let’s just say you want to spend a few days exploring Niterói. Where to begin?
For now, let’s just focus on museums and cultural spots. We can highlight beaches, forts, churches, restaurants, etc. another time.
First, get yourself to Praça Quinzy in Rio Centro to take the ferry across the bay to Niterói. It’s fun, it’s cheap, it’s comfortable and it’s scenic. And you won’t have to worry about a stalled car or truck on the bay bridge that could hold you up for an hour or more.
Once you have arrived at the ferry terminal in Niterói (adjacent to the bus terminal) the central fish market or the Teatro Municipal are within quick walking distance. Follow your bliss.
To get to Niterói’s famous Modern Art Museum (MAC) from the ferry terminal, you should catch the 47B bus line. Or – it is a very scenic and easy walk (maybe 20 - 25 minutes) along the shoreline, complete with food and drink kiosks to keep you refreshed, to get to the museum.
Entrance to the MAC is just R$4.00, half price for students and folks over 60 years and free for children under 7 years. Every Wednesday entrance is free for everyone.
In the Ingá neighborhood (rather close to the MAC) are two more museums worth a look: Museu Antonio Parreiras and Museu do Ingá. Follow the links for more information about each museum.
Another spot worth a peek is Solar do Jambeiro. This is basically a mansion from the late 1800s that has been restored and offers an opportunity to check out the architecture and style of living among the rich of that time. Just like the MAC, entrance is R$4, R$2 for students and seniors, free for the kids up to 7 years and free on Wednesdays. The walk through the neighborhood from the Museu Antonio Parreiras or Museu do Ingá is enjoyable.
Make a day of it. In all the area covered is rather compact. Very doable.
There are restaurants at every turn, so you will be well taken care of.